A Roadmap for Change:
Federal Policy Recommendations for Addressing the Criminalization of LGBT People and People Living with HIV
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people and people living with HIV (PLWH) face pervasive discrimination at all stages of the criminal legal system, from policing, to adjudication, to incarceration, according to a new report published by the Center for Gender & Sexuality Law at Columbia Law School and co-authored by the Center for American Progress, The Center for HIV Law & Policy, and Streetwise & Safe (SAS).
The report, A Roadmap for Change: Federal Policy Recommendations for Addressing the Criminalization of LGBT People and People with HIV, is one of the first to offer comprehensive federal policy recommendations to address cycles of criminalization and discriminatory treatment faced by LGBT people and PLWH. Co-authored by Catherine Hanssens, Aisha-Moodie Millis, Andrea Ritchie, Dean Spade and Urvashi Vaid, with input from more than 50 legal, advocacy and grassroots organizations working on LGBT and criminal justice policy, the report provides an extensive outline of policy measures that federal agencies can adopt to address discriminatory and abusive policing practices, improve conditions for LGBT prisoners and immigrants in detention, decriminalize HIV, and prevent LGBT youth and adults from coming in contact with the system in the first place.
“Legal equality has not translated into lived equality for LGBT people, especially poor people and people of color,” adds Dean Spade, co-author and visiting professor with the Engaging Tradition Project at Columbia Law School’s Center for Gender & Sexuality Law. “There is still little justice for LGBT people like CeCe McDonald and countless others who are driven into the criminal legal system by pervasive poverty and systemic discrimination in the distribution of life chances.”
A unique aspect of this report was its collaborative development. “This report represents an innovative and unprecedented collaboration among groups who normally do not work together and serves as a reminder that while tactics may occasionally differ, our end goal is ultimately the same: to end the needless criminalization of LGBT people and PLWH,” said Urvashi Vaid, co-author and Director of the Engaging Tradition Project at Columbia Law School’s Center for Gender & Sexuality Law. The Center and report co-authors convened 50 activists, policy advocates, lawyers, and grassroots organizations in May of 2013 and consulted widely with many others to develop this report, including currently and previously incarcerated individuals.
A Roadmap for Change: Federal Policy Recommendations for Addressing the Criminalization of LGBT People and People with HIV (Full Report - PDF)
Making the Case for Federal Policy Change: Essays and Excerpts (Report Summary - PDF)
Recommendations for Federal Agencies (PDF)
* First image: CeCe MacDonald while incarcerated, courtesy Leslie Fineberg; second image: LGBTQ youth leaders from Streetwise and Safe (SAS) advocate for an enforceable ban on police profiling in New York City, July 2013, courtesy A. Ritchie